imperialmog wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:44 am
Isn't an issue that the C customs area is set up where even if you are ending trip here you have to go through security again? Why any likely BA setup scenario would be to use the current international arrivals to drop those off and then tow to C for departures, this setup isn't uncommon since its done at O'Hare for example. Mainly to not clog gates for arrivals. Other plus is so they could depart with AA and use the Admirals Club. That and considering a hypothetical timetable, you wouldn't want them to be staying at international arrival gates long due to if Southwest needs it due to evening rush or down the line any other flights appear. And note E33 and one of the American gates was designed in the past year or two to handle a 787.
If they've got a gate that will take a heavy on D/E now you're probably right, they'll doubtless work to unify customs operations in once place, but I can't imagine it would be a huge deal to reopen the second periodically if the demand is there or a larger aircraft is ever needed. I'd wouldn't be surprised if most of the heavy equipment is probably still mothballed in place there, and so the biggest issues might be bringing the computers and network infrastructure up to spec, adding more modern light equipment like passport scanners and cameras, and moving personnel over there when necessary. You could probably get away with less updates to amenities in a basement customs area. When I was last in Shanghai a year back I had a flight that departed out of a basement gate area that felt like a holdover from the sixties: Wood dividers in the bathrooms, ancient concrete floors, there might even have been old ashtrays still. It was like stepping into another time. It was a largely disused bus boarding area to take you out to an onfield air stair, I suppose if a gate with a jetway couldn't be made available in time. (They kept moving us back and forth from one end of the concourse in what I'll call terminal two all the way to the other end. They did that . . . three times, I think. And it's a rather long concourse, seeing as there is only one and it's a fairly busy airport.) I actually rather enjoyed it, as it was a dive through the bowels of the airport and the air stair was just fun. Worn but functional will get you by in a pinch for something that's going to spend most of its time idle.
gregl wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:39 pm
The customs area was below the terminal level.
Each of the customs accessible gates had two sets of doors. Coming off the plane, if the flight was domestic, you would continue straight through the door to the jetway and go through a door which led to the gate area in the terminal. If the flight was international, the second door would be closed and you would turn left or right to access the stairway to the customs area on the lower level. Once you cleared customs & immigration, you'd go through security and re-enter the terminal near gate C30.
Similar setups are used in terminals all over the world, including T5 in Chicago, which allows gates to be used for both international and domestic traffic.
Yes, the two door thing does seem standard, now that you mention it. But Chicago's T5 is kind of a special case in my somewhat limited experience. I'm usually a little jet lagged, so try as I might, I haven't completely wrapped my head around how some places flow (though O'Dear is getting to be an exception), even if I've been through them quite often. But most in Asia, at least, don't lead you into bone-fide basements in the Chicago style. Might just be age, I suppose. The Asian system seems to prefer fully two level concourses. The gates are always on the lower level, but there's usually only a small waiting area downstairs, while most public airside areas are upstairs. On international arrivals the open door shuffles you into a lower level corridor that isn't generally accessible, but often seems to run about the full length of the concourse. At Shanghai Pu Dong you can sometimes see the general waiting areas through glass doors or partitions. I'd say this feels like the most common arrangement in East Asia, though most aren't so open and visible, and so the circulation is maybe less clear. Is San Francisco's international terminal laid out like that? It had the upper story public concourse and lower story gate much reminiscent of an Asian airport. But I only departed, so no customs there for me. Seoul Incheon I want to say you actually go down from immigration in the airport, so customs might have been on an upper level of the concourse there. (It's an odd duck. So odd it's a swan, perhaps. Really a heck of a pleasant airport.) It's been so long since I was last in Europe that I'll leave the short-haul side to someone more knowledgeable.
(Though what with my brother in England these days I suppose I should fix that. Not that I'll likely drop the gilders for a direct flight.)
Anyway, I'm chasing something down a rabbit hole. Sorry. I really enjoy airports way too much to be completely healthy. Back to Lambert with us. And may we someday see enough traffic that they need both customs areas again, and maybe a third (connected) terminal. It's always good to dream, right? Hey Amazon, you need a hub now that you got planes? We have quiet landing strips for ya! (And if that China air cargo thing takes back off, weird thought that, then that could be mighty convenient. Not sure that would raise much demand for either passenger or the sacred direct to Europe flight though. Still . . . more landings is lower landing fees is cheaper operations is more landings is . . . a constructive feedback loop. Oh yeah!)